November 2012

Nearly 500 rhinos poached in South Africa this year

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With two months of the year still to go, a record number of rhinos have illegally been killed this year in South Africa. Poachers have slaughtered 488 rhinos so far in 2012, surpassing the 448 killed during the whole of 2011. Over half (296) of the rhinos killed were in Kruger National Park.

These horrific figures show the dramatic rise in rhino poaching over the past decade, where just 13 rhinos were killed in South Africa during the whole of 2007. Poaching is carried out by highly organised criminal syndicates, with rhino horn is now reputedly worth more than gold on the black market. The latest South African government figures show that 214 arrests have been made so far this year.

South Africa is home to around 20,000 rhinos, more than any other country. However there is much concern that the number of rhinos killed will soon exceed the number of births, which will tip the species into decline.

White RhinoThe increase in rhino poaching is mainly attributed to the growing demand for rhino horn from wealthy consumers in Asia, in particular Vietnam and China. Rhino horn is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine, with demand recently increasing due to unfounded rumours that rhino horn can cure cancer. Other users have been identified who believe that rhino horn has 'detoxification' properties following the consumption of excessive food or alcohol.

More recently, the use of rhino horn as a prized status object has emerged. A number of wealthy Vietnamese individuals have been discovered in possession of rhino horn. In early October 2012, a case emerged of the theft of a rhino horn from a wealthy Vietnamese bank tycoon who was ''gifted'' the  white rhino from someone who apparently shot the rhino during a legal hunt in South Africa in 2006.

Click here to view the official South Africa National Parks poaching statistics for this year

(4) Comments

  • Anthea Smith
    15 November 2012, 12:21

    These stats are atrocious ... my heart is so saddened, I wish I could as a person do more to help them. They don't deserve this slaughter.
    How do we fix this problem??????????

  • Kevin Orman
    24 November 2012, 23:29

    Asia has created this market, they believe it can cure cancer! Keratin has been proved to worsen survival rates for cancer sufferers and dramatically improve the chances of going blind.

    Back in the 80's I read that it would be best to take all the wildlife from Africa and move them to a huge reserve in Texas, that doesn't seem so mad an idea now!

  • Becks Park
    26 November 2012, 11:28

    I feel sick every time I hear of the slaughter of one of these precious animals. Why not start a education campaign in the countries demanding the horn that there is no evidence of any positive effect on the human body by consuming what is essentially compressed hair. We need to go to the source of the demand!! Education, education, education!!!

  • Ian
    28 November 2012, 13:57

    until we get the 100% comittment from the government and poachers are given long jail sentances South Africa and particularly Kruger Park Rhinos are going to be wiped out.We have a defence force sitting on their backsides,put hundreds of them on the borders of the park and let them shoot any armed poachers they enecounter.Until it is no longer worth the risk poachers will win.

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